by Shelene Taylor
Often the first thing to get put aside in a busy massage entrepreneur’s life is planning for the future process. There is always something–the client to call, the supplies to pick up, the bills to pay–the list can seem endless. The catch is if you don’t plan your future, you may never create a business that offers you more free time, abundant income and true satisfaction. And even worse, you may end up deciding that you can’t make a go of it in the massage world. So choose the path that will create the life you want making the following a habit.
All successful business owners do some form of business planning to create a thriving business. A quick and easy one-page business plan makes it crystal clear what steps to take to keep you on track and move toward more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. This type of plan is also flexible and a work in progress, so you can easily shift focus into areas that might need immediate attention.
Of course, you must focus on the right strategies to be effective because if you continue to do the same thing repeatedly or focus on the wrong strategies, you will not achieve the results you want.
It can be daunting to think about creating a business plan, but this isn’t the kind of plan you would use to submit to a bank for a loan or even like one of the old style business plans. It is a focused, simple and strategic plan to move you forward.
A simple, one-page plan has three elements to it: key objectives, action steps and a timeline. Keep the objectives and action steps crystal clear and outcome focused. Before beginning your plan, revisit your business vision, the starting point for your planning. Your vision is your big WHY, it is your dream and compass for your future, and your plan will evolve from it.
To set up a simple, focused business plan, use the following process:
- Key objectives. These are your goals.Choose three objectives, such as adding five new clients a week, hire someone to answer your phone so that you can book more clients immediately, redesign your website to become income producing instead of just an online brochure, or perhaps hire a bookkeeper to handle your books so that you can spend your time doing what you do best.
- Action steps. Under each objective, write out at least three action steps to take that will assist you in achieving your goal. For example, to add five new clients a week you could contact your current clients and offer them an incentive to refer someone to you. Research answering services to see who would be the best fit for your business and research other websites to determine how you would like your site to capture clients’ contact info or generate income.
- Timeline. Each action step needs to have a timeline attached to it. Be sure to schedule into your planner each action step, making sure that you set aside time to do the steps will ensure success. But space out your planning, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
It is also important to address different areas of your business. For example, you will always want to have one objective focused on gaining new clients or other income-generating activities. The other objectives can be around your money management, so that you keep more of what you make, website optimization (which can also be income generating), budgeting for success, attracting great staff or streamlining your business operations. A well-rounded business plan will grow your business and make sure you have the elements in place to manage that growth successfully.
At the end of your plan, assess the effectiveness of your selected objectives; this will assist you in creating an even better planning process the next time around.
Optimally creating a plan should be done on a quarterly basis; spend about an hour and a half to come up with your plan and see the difference that effective planning makes by the end of your first 90-day period. Business planning is your friend and will allow you to achieve your dreams.
Shelene Taylor started the International Association of Massage Business to share with massage biz entrepreneurs the proven strategies, systems and tools that she uses in her own successful multimillion-dollar massage business in Tucson, Arizona. Since she started from scratch, she is intimately familiar with all aspects of the massage business and has a passion to share her experience so that others can create a thriving business and touch the world with their gift.